Feeds

Attacks exploit unpatched weakness in Adobe apps

Ham-handed PDF peril from Zeus

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Criminals behind the notorious Zeus crimeware package have begun exploiting an unpatched hole in the widely used portable document format to install malware on end user computers.

The booby-trapped PDF documents arrive in emails that purport to contain a billing invoice, according to a post from M86 Security Labs. If the user opens the documents and clicks through a series of dialog boxes, PDF readers from Adobe will execute a file that makes the PC a part of a botnet (The FoxIT reader will automatically save the malicious file on the user's hard drive.)

The exploit is a ham-handed exploit of a feature included in the PDF specification that allows documents to automatically run code. That's because it requires javascript to be turned on and it doesn't alter the wording of one of the dialog boxes, as security researcher Didier Stevens showed was possible.

"This is why I would classify this attack attempt as rudimentary at best, with little to no real sophistication," Jeremy Conway, another researcher who modified Stevens' attack, wrote here. "If this was the best the malicious actors have to offer we would have nothing to worry about, but I am afraid this is only the beginning and I am sure we will see far more sophisticated attempts at exploiting the Launch action in the future."

Adobe has said it is mulling changes to its Reader and Acrobat programs to close the hole. Users in the meantime can protect themselves by turning off the automatic launch feature. To do this, go to Edit > Preferences and click on Trust Manager in the left pane. Then, uncheck the box for "Allow opening of non-PDF file attachments with external applications." ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.